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Community Matters

What Every Babysitter Should Know

July 3rd, 2014

By Alison Brodie

Summer is here and the kids are out of school. It’s a time for fun, and it might also be a time for children to begin looking after their younger brothers and sisters or to start earning money through babysitting. Although many children are already responsible enough to stay home alone or to look after their younger siblings by the time they reach 11-years-old, the more they know about First Aid and safety, the better. St. John Ambulance’s What Every Babysitter Should Know course provides young people with specialized safety training in order to ensure that they know how to react to a variety of different emergency situations.

12-year-old Carissa recently participated in the public What Every Babysitter Should Know course, and she has already used some of the skills that she learned in order to prevent what could have been a very dangerous situation. When she and her family were visiting relatives, a two-and-a-half year old toddler ran out of the house and towards the road. It was Carissa who noticed and scooped the child up before he came into any serious danger.

“Carissa has become much more aware and her eyes are a little more open to the aspect of safety all around her now. The boost to her self-confidence has been evident,” says her mother, Laura.

After learning a number of important lessons in the class, such as proper care for infants and children, injury prevention, and basic First Aid techniques, Carissa has taken the experience seriously and can often be found practicing bandaging herself and the family dog.

In addition to the lessons mentioned above, the babysitting course teaches participants hazardous product symbols, basic First Aid and CPR techniques, and what they should do in emergencies such as a fire, a prowler, a gas leak, a power failure, or a storm. Furthermore, the participants receive hands-on experience performing all of the safety techniques that they learn in class, which helps them to remember what they learn and to feel more confident in their own abilities.

However, St. John Ambulance recognizes that a significant number of children are prevented from receiving training due to financial hardships and, out of necessity, may be required to care for their siblings without knowing the safety basics. All children should have equal opportunities when it comes to keeping themselves and others safe in an emergency, and in order to ensure that every babysitter is adequately prepared for any dangerous situations that they might encounter on the job, St. John is excited to offer the Sponsor a Sitter Initiative for the fourth year.

The Sponsor a Sitter Initiative offers a subsidy that allows economically-disadvantaged youth aged 11 to 16 to take the St. John babysitting course, What Every Babysitter Should Know, at a reduced rate. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of community partners such as The Stollery Charitable Foundation, The Prosser Charitable Foundation, Superstore, and Walmart, each participant in a Sponsor a Sitter course will also receive a special babysitting kit full of items that will help them successfully begin their babysitting careers.

While public What Every Babysitter Should Know courses are available year-round, the opportunity for spots in the subsidized Sponsor a Sitter course will be available in Fort McMurray on July 12 and August 16, 2014. Public What Every Babysitter Should Know dates can be found on www.sja.ca or by calling the local St. John Ambulance Centre at (780) 743-0991.

For more information please contact Alison Brodie, Business Development Coordinator,  St. John Ambulance at 403-327-2847 ext 6104 or  alison.brodie@stjohn.ab.ca.

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